Saturday, July 08, 2006

What If-itis

We have all raised a supercillious eyebrow at the guy who picks his pseudonym and plans out his back flap author's picture before he has put a pen to paper or opened a document in Word.
We are inclined to snort, mutter something crude about "poseurs,"and dismiss the person as one in love with the idea of being a writer rather than an idea for a novel.
Classic cart-before-horse. Or - to modernize - tow-truck-before-Toyota.
On the other hand, the guy may just have his what-ifs out of alignment.
A common habit among writers.
What-ifs are our stock in trade after all. Imagination in the wild.
He's really not so different.
Other than being so freaking optomistic, that is.
How many times have we seen writers in full-blown panic attacks about promotion, cover art and author's photographs - though they've only begun to query?
Or writers in a tizzy about sell-through, back-list, bad reviews and the albatross of the mid-list before they've secured a publisher?
How many times have we allowed Madame Guillotine and that Damocles guy to have an affair in out heads?
Beginners should allow themselves only three basic gibbering points:

1. the book.
2. a computer crash.
3. acquiring a contract.

Those three are entirely sufficient unto the day.
The others are really, truly, a bridge too far.

The picture?
Wish I still looked like that.


Erik Ivan James said...


Astride the magnificent black horse of war, he peered down upon the princess who stood before the castle gate. His blood red plume fluttered lazily in the warm morning breeze.

She locked onto his eyes with hers, smiled, and in that moment vanquished his brutal cursade to conquer the kingdom.

His objective, then and forever...her embrace.

Bernita said...

How nice.
Good beginning for a historical paranormal, Erik!
Variation on the Welsh myth of the Knight of the Blood Red Plume.
Who was a demon.

Bhaswati said...

Ahh, a computer crash, how very pertinent. Brings back memories when this blogger lost four chapters of her book to said crash. Have since been a quick learner with respect to creating back-ups, emailing chapters to self etc. etc.

You look gorgeous, then and now :)

Bernita said...

Now that is a case of REAL trauma, Bhaswati.
~moans in sympathy~
My method is to e-mail chapters to a tech-child for safe-keeping.

Thank you. Not so, but nice to hear.

Sela Carsen said...

But now you'll always look like that to me, Bernita.

I've e-mailed chapters to my g-mail account. Web-based e-mail with a huge storage capacity.

Putting the cart before the horse, however, provides an excellent excuse to never get anywhere. How can I write with this big, bloody cart in front of me?

Bernita said...

Thank you, Sela.
I should use my gmail for that too. Never occured to me.
Hmmm, maybe that's why some writers use out-of-date photos on their back covers...though the reality is different, the image remains.

Sweating the future stuff certainly paralizes the psyche.

EA Monroe said...

We are all gorgeous in our youth. On the outside, the persona that faces the world everyday, I still feel like my face reflects the young girl I remember. What a brutal shock upon looking into the mirror!

Flood said...

Bernita, you look like M.Dietrich in this pic!

I put the horse before the cart in writing all the time, because that's what keeps me going. Sometimes, the fantasy is the fun thing in the loneliness that can be writing.

That's why I started the interviews. I wanted gonna-be's to get a fun, informal taste of things to come, because that's what I would want.

Still, you're right. Sometimes getting practical and writing the ms should be the only thought, or else your shouting in the wind.

Bernita said...

I reel back in horror,EA!
Ha! Reel/real - another one.
It would be nice to look 30 something again.

Thank you, Flood. Always thought I had the Deitrich legs, but certainly not the face.
The interviews are a great idea - a practical and positive idea - they are not a twitchy dither over remote stuff beyond one's control.

kmfrontain said...

Nice photo, Bernita.

Bernita said...

Old photo, Karen.

For The Trees said...

Well, I cheated. I went and laid out the whole book, formatted it, got the page numbers correct, sat down and learned Photoshop to make a one-piece cover, figured out what to SAY on the cover, wrote all my own "What People Are Saying About (story)" and the author blurb.

Then I sent it off to Lulu and got a couple of copies. Now I know what it's all about, and can have a good amount of input into the publishing process.

All I gotta do is rewrite these five novels until they're fit to be purchased!!!

Bernita, the picture of you is wonderful. Put it on the cover and label it "Portrait of the Author a couple of years ago." Or better yet, show'em your legs!

Bernita said...

Sounds like a plan, Forrest.A great plan.
A little ms tweak and you'll be good to go for your booth.All the ducks in a row.You'll have a ball. selling a novel, not myself.

M.E Ellis said...

Oh gawd, don't talk about author photos! I have to have one done for my up-coming interview with WCP.

I dyed my hair today in the hopes it makes me look, err, nice.


Bet you still look the same as your pic, Bernita!


Dennie McDonald said...

you mean we have to have pics - I think not - I'd rather remain mysterious and aloof - though if you go back far enough in my blog you may find stuff...

Bernita said...

I wish, Michelle.

C'mon, Dennie. You look just like the girl on your first cover.

Robyn said...

I was gorgeous when I was twenty. EVERYONE is gorgeous at twenty because they are twenty, I suspect. But your pic shows something else- you're one classy broad.

I must second the vote for gmail. That's how I back up my chapters.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Robyn.
Tempus nunquam revertitur...

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